Think the hardest part about college will be writing 15 -page essays and combatting homesickness? Think again.
Your roommate situation — whether you’re besties or not — can also have a huge affect on your college experience. If you had your way, your roommate would be a glorified version of yourself who’d stand by your side forever. But in the real world, that doesn’t always happen.
If you find yourself stuck with a roomie who really starts to irk you, don’t kirk out, try these 13 tips to help y’all get along.
13. Ask & Listen
Your living buddy (or buddies if you’re in a suite) won’t come with a manual detailing her personality, likes, and dislikes. Soon after meeting, have a Q&A sesh to discover what makes her tick and what makes her smile. Afterward, show her you were listening. For example, if she tells you she’s a light sleeper, use headphones for late-night music listening; or, head out to the hallway or common area to study.
12. Keep It Real
We all want to make a good impression, but on the real, let the roomie know what’s up from day one. If you’re really not cool with others using the toilet while you’re showering, or you’d prefer that her boyfriend not spend the night while you’re in the room, just say so. It’ll make things a lot less awkward going forward, and no one will accuse you of acting brand new a few months down the road.
11. Share the Load
Early on, come to an agreement about who will clean what and when, whose turn it is to buy toilet paper (unless your dorm provides it), and how or if you’ll share groceries. Trust, the last thing you want is to have to share a shower that’s starting to sprout mold because everybody thinks it’s someone else’s turn to clean, so nobody does it at all.
10. Remember: What Happens at Home Stays at Home
We get it. Roommates cry, fart, and might have a tendency to walk around naked (hey, it happens). No matter how funny or annoying those eccentricities might be, you don’t need to share all that with people outside of your spot. Respect her privacy, and she’ll have a reason to respect yours.
9. Keep Your Hand Out of the Cookie Jar
She might introduce herself with a what’s mine is yours-type policy, but you should always double-check before taking or borrowing anything you don’t own. Maybe she’s really looking forward to that ice cream after class, or perhaps her new heels are too expensive to risk scratching at the club.
8. Bond During Roomie Night
Carve out a time for the two of you to talk and hang together. It can be as simple as a quick lunch in the caf or a girls’ night in with lots of movies. The time together will give you a chance to talk out any building issues, and hopefully, start a friendship.
7. Remember Important Dates
You don’t have to be best friends to leave a birthday card on her desk or to wish her good luck before a big test. Acknowledging important details about her life is a great way to show that you care and that you are friend-worthy.
6. Be There to Help
Even if you aren’t BFFs you can still help your roommate through hard times. If you know she’s going through something, try to make things easier by grabbing dinner for the night or offering an ear to listen.
5. Let Her Know She’s Welcome
There’s no rule that says you and your roommate have to be joined at the hip. However, inviting a roommate out for a night with your friends is never ill-received.
4. Include Her in Decisions
Remember that your space is also her space. Ask her opinion before making major décor changes, having parties, or inviting friends over to stay the night.
3. Stick Around…
As college students, your time will be limited. Even so, spend a night in once in a while to re-energize and let your roommate know you’re alive. If not, she might start to feel like she’s living with a stranger, and have a hard time seeing you as anything more.
2. …But Not all the Time
On the other hand, no one likes to be smothered. Give her some time alone to recover from all your quirks. (That’s right, you have ’em, too!)
1. Go In With the Best of Intentions
Thanks to Facebook, it’s easy to size up a person before you actually meet her. Do the both of you a favor by putting aside any pre-judgements, and make an effort to get to know and like her for the person she is — so much more than a simple online profile.